back to article Shared, not stirred: GCHQ chief says Europe needs British spies

The head of GCHQ has publicly called for security co-operation with Britain's EU allies to continue after Brexit. In a speech made at NATO's Brussels headquarters yesterday, Jeremy Fleming pointedly said that the intelligence agency has "worked with our European colleagues to share understanding of how to protect our …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yay, "taking back control" is great!

  2. Matthew Smith

    Pooh to intelligence sharing

    I'd rather have cheaper beer at 'Spoons.

    1. Avatar of They

      Re: Pooh to intelligence sharing

      All that lovely imported beee... oh.

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Pooh to intelligence sharing

      You're not suggesting that you actually believe Tim Martin's promises are you? I think you'll find that they're about as reliable as the bus was.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Pooh to intelligence sharing

      What's the betting that most of the hops used in British ale are either imported, or picked by immigrants?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Security Shared, not stirred: GCHQ chief says Europe needs British spies"

    That's OK, they're all working as consultants through private contractors, so available to anyone with £2,000/day or so to spare (plus expenses).

    Yes, senior field guys and analysts are that well paid.

    The ones in the civil service are by and large just doing clerical / admin work so are just overhead really. The same applies to any other Western service.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Security Shared, not stirred: GCHQ chief says Europe needs British spies"

      I'm glad I'm in IT :D

  4. alain williams Silver badge

    Barnier bombastic bullshit

    Michel Barnier is using any scare tactic that he can think of to try and hurt England in the Brexit negotiations, even if it ends up hurting the rest of the EU as well.

    He claims that he is not trying to punish England, but this is exactly what he is doing. He does not display the desire to get something that is best for everyone but seems to want to make it as painful as possible - I suspect to discourage others leaving, eg Spexit or Grexit.

    Still, we can't expect honesty from a politician.

    .

    The above is not a comment about Brexit being a good or a bad thing.

    1. 8Ace

      Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

      I think your constant references to "England" rather than "UK" says enough about your probable leanings on Brexit !

      1. Joe Harrison

        Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

        It's a paradox - the average pro-Brexit person will give you the standard line about how we should take back control of our borders and kick foreigners out etc. Any suggestion that England leave the UK for the same reasons is met with a sudden attack of union patriotism, stronger together, etc.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

        If it was only England leaving the EU (or England and Wales, since both voted for it) then no-one would really care. I'm Irish, working in Scotland and even though both NI and Scotland voted Remain, they're getting dragged out. I'd rather see a hard border built from Carlisle to Berwick than along the Irish Border or in the Irish sea.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

          "I'm Irish, working in Scotland and even though both NI and Scotland voted Remain,"

          Oh, please. Stop with the parochial "we voted remain" argument! Where do we drawer the line at the size of constituency where we can say "it" voted leave or remain? If you want to argue by nations level, then why not argue for county level? Some significant county level votes in England were for remain, as was at least one NI county vote for leave. Try drawing borders around them too. Or maybe divide by Parliamentary constituencies. Maybe Scotland, NI and London should all get to remain? You happy to keep London as the "Remain UK" capital.

          Disclosure: I voted remain in one of the areas voting very strongly for leave. It's also a strong Labour bastion, ie Labour have been in power almost since it's formation, so I'm used to being in the minority.

          1. Ken 16 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

            @John Brown (no body)

            Why not draw the line at the nations who get to vote on their membership of the United Kingdom? If Scotland had voted to leave in IndyRef 1 it would all have left the UK. If Northern Ireland has a border poll then under the Belfast agreement they also go as a unit.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

      He apparently wants the EPP to pick him as their Spitzenkandidate for Commission President in next year's European elections. And so talking tough wins him friends in the European Parliament.

      But you also have to remember that there are different negotiating styles going on. Barnier and the Commission like to make lots of noise and talk tough, and ocassionally put out "leaks" of talks between May and Juncker to ramp up the media pressure. Even if they're actually closer to a deal in private. As has happened with previous rounds. To put public pressure on the UK government.

      For some reason May has refused to play that game, and apart from being obviously pissed off over Galileo, the UK government has mostly just taken the hits and said nothing in public. Obviously you've got the mouthy back-bencher types shouting from the wings, but the main players haven't engaged in the same kind of tactics.

      So we may be closer to deals on some of this stuff than it looks. The Commission are doing the negotiating, but the treaties place the competency with the Council of Ministers, not the Commission. So they get the final decision. So why not play good-cop bad-cop? The only part of negotiations that falls under the Commission's competency is the trade talks, and they've refused to even start those yet. So we shall see.

      France wants closer security cooperation with the UK. And did before the Brexit vote, and still does. Partly because they know they can't really rely on Germany (who refused them access to transport planes during the Libya crisis for example). However France also wants to grab the UK's share of the Galileo work, so may be playing both sides, or may actually want to do that stuff bilaterally with the UK and not through the EU. Or just be trying to get two contradictory things at once? It's not like different bits of governments don't end up screwing each others' strategies up all the time or anything...

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

        Good Lord!!!

        An informed and accurate comment, and it gets voted UP? Reg readers will never cease to surprise me...

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

        the UK government has mostly just taken the hits and said nothing in public

        Raises eyebrow.

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

      He claims that he is not trying to punish England, but this is exactly what he is doing.

      I am still being punished for resigning my gym membership; they still won't let me use their equipment, keep dragging me out.

      On top of that I'm now being punished by my insurance company who say I have to cover the cost of my claim myself just because I refused to pay for their policy.

      I say "punished", but they keep saying "consequences". Arseholes.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

        Jason Bloomberg,

        Shit analogies are still shit, however many times they're repeated. A bit like all that crap with music copyright being like cars/shoplifting/whatever.

        Being in or leaving the EU, is only like being in or leaving the EU. It's a unique organisation.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

          Yet again another of one of those "For" and "Against", or if you want, "Leave" and "Remain" discussions. Which TBH, are just as gridlocked as they were in 2016. You just have to scan the ElReg archives for confirmation. But with all this finger pointing, name calling, or even internal parliamentary intrigue and power struggles, one thing as a Scandinavian becomes clear to me:

          Where the rest of the world has moved on, the UK apparently is kind of stuck in its own bubble.

          Keeping with the tone of (some of the encountered) discussions and classifications, and "excusing" myself for originating from a different island and my "foreign" remarks, I personally can't help noticing that Andrew Rawnsley in his column in the Guardian described current European sentiments (or the lack thereof?) very well.

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/17/europe-losing-interest-brexit-soap-it-has-bigger-worries

          But that probably will also be the fault of those nasty foreigners I suppose...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

        >I am still being punished for resigning my gym membership; they still won't let me use their equipment, keep dragging me out.

        Not quite the right analogy, you've been paying the gym membership and subsiding others membership as well as paying for new equipment but the gym expect you to keep on paying for this when you don't get use of the equipment and expect you to pay a 10 year cancellation fee.

        1. Avatar of They
          FAIL

          Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

          Not really.

          You cancel your membership but when you joined the gym you signed an agreement for the next seven years to pay for your membership. Like any gym when you pay, the gym makes use of that money to do stuff that gyms do - like provide new gym equipment (as well as cleaning the showers, paying wages etc) equipment which you yourself make use of during your membership.

          Then when you cancel they ask you to provide the agreed and contracted 7 years before you can leave because that is what you signed and agreed to do. (like any other contract)

          Oh and once you leave you can't have the all the benefits of being a member and you can't then whinge when they close the doors and ask you to stop turning up.

          FTFY

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Just to be clear

            Which gym are we talking about here?

      3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Jason

        Are you still paying for your gym membership 2 years after you left? Are they charging you £40 billion to cancel it even though it's not in their terms and conditions? Are you not allowed a share of the gym equipment even though you've paid for it personally over 30 years?

        Your example was poor

    4. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

      He does not display the desire to get something that is best for everyone

      Actually, he has free reign, why would he not try to get the best for the EU ? I think the EU is tired of always bending over for the UK, worse, the more he hurts the UK, the more he helps the EU. Frankfurt and Paris are going bonkers over the many City banks moving ... all thanks to UK's loss of the passporting rights ... we are talking actual GDP points for Germany and France, here ...

      Grexit will not happen anytime soon, the Greek economy is growing, now.

      Spexit will not happen anytime soon, because Spain is very eager to get hold of new Airbus contracts, thanks to Brexit.

      Frexit is dead, Marine Le Pen showed her complete and utter political ignorance during the last presidential debate.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

        You missed out Italexit. Plus the Hungary/Poland/Visegard countries...

        I'm curious as to why so many members want to leave this wonderful organisation. Do tell...!

    5. Potemkine! Silver badge

      Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

      Regarding Barnier's preparations on negotiations vs Brexit negociators' ones, a picture is worth a thousand words.

      What a bunch of wankers...

    6. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

      ...The above is not a comment about Brexit being a good or a bad thing....

      That's the way it's been interpreted, though.

      You have to remember that, for a Remainer, ANYTHING European is perfect. That includes European politicians.

      This is not because they're stupid. It's a cognitive dissonance thing. They HAVE to believe that the EU is a success, which means working hard to avoid any criticism of it whatsoever. Psycologists have found that providing accurate information actually strengthened misperceptions among the subjects most strongly committed to error.

      It's all documented here: https://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/nyhan-reifler.pdf

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

        You have to remember that, for a Remainer, ANYTHING European is perfect. That includes European politicians.

        Total crap.

        Many remainers, you will find, can see a lot wrong with the EU. They just don't believe that immolation is the best approach for dealing with it.

        1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

          ...They just don't believe that immolation is the best approach for dealing with it....

          Then they're gluttons for punishment. People have been trying to improve the EU for many years. Every time, it just gets worse. The facade of democracy has long gone, and been replaced by Commission punishment - look at Greece and Italy and Ireland and Hungary. The Euro cannot function and is held up by constant rule-breaking. The trading bloc is protectionist, and becoming sclerotic.

          And there is NO interest in addressing these problems at all. That's why leaving is the last option open. We don't want to be there when the ship sinks...

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

            And there is NO interest in addressing these problems at all. That's why leaving is the last option open. We don't want to be there when the ship sinks..

            Time to close that echo chamber that has convinced people that the ship will sink.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

              @ werdsmith

              "Time to close that echo chamber that has convinced people that the ship will sink."

              Is it an echo chamber when evidence is on our side? The words existential crisis have been fastened to the EU for a good portion of its life. Its own presidents and members keep pronouncing how close to collapse it is. There is an echo chamber but it keeps ignoring or victim blaming for the faults of the EU and in great denial of the crises that make up the block.

              When there was the possibility of the EU currency being pushed on our country we 'eurosceptics' were right and proved right against the certainty of the pro-EU. Not because we had an echo chamber but because we didnt fall for the echo chamber. The EU is in multiple crises. The 'EU is wonderful' bubble is just that and shrinking.

              You might as well tell us to close the echo chamber that objects will fall with gravity.

        2. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

          @ werdsmith

          "Many remainers, you will find, can see a lot wrong with the EU. They just don't believe that immolation action is the best approach for dealing with it."

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Barnier bombastic bullshit

            @codejunky

            <"Many remainers, you will find, can see a lot wrong with the EU. They just don't believe that immolation action make all those problems worse and gain more problems is the best approach for dealing with it."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I said this the other week and lots disagreed, the people sharing this information are not going to stop and put their countries in danger and the politicians aren't going to pass laws/rules/orders stopping them.

    1. FuzzyWuzzys

      Common sense says they simply cannot allow one state close to mainland Europe to become a haven for "bad guys". If anything being outside the EU will make our data even more valuable as we'll have slightly different governance than EU member states and thus we'll be under more scrutiny than ever before by our European cousins.

      1. Ken 16 Silver badge

        more scrutiny

        to ensure there are adequate safeguards on UK held data and judged as a 3rd party not an EU member with national security out outs

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      I think doing it through the EU requires some proper legal supervision, rules about data-protection and legal oversight by the ECJ. And the Commission will insist on full compliance with the treaties (when it suits them). But if it becomes politically urgent to budge (say after a big terrorist attack) - they'll ignore the treaties, like they did when it came to fixing the Eurozone crisis. Or the "temporary" breaches of Schengen rules that were allowed after the Paris attacks.

      Whereas doing it bilaterally means anything goes that is allowed by intelligence agencies and the anti-terrorist police. But that's less efficient. As there's no central clearing house.

      On the other other hand, the most sensitive stuff probably doesn't go on EU-wide databases anyway. But only goes to the more trusted agencies.

  6. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    It does not matter what GCHQ think

    If the modern day Gen De Gaulle (aka Barnier) says NON! then the answer is clear. No cooperation, no trade deals, no nothing.

    M. Barnier is clearly under orders to screw us up/do us over/make us regret deciding to leave their cozy little club. I'm sure that he'd rather the UK just disappear into the sea (leaving Eire who will be made to use French as the language to interact with the EU) behind naturally.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: It does not matter what GCHQ think

      Err... Mr Barnier is under orders to deliver a VALID deal.

      Any deal which allows UK member-like privileges without any of the checks which are applied by the ECHR and ECJ to members will be successfully challenged in court and declared invalid.

      So, unless the UK comes up with some mechanics for checks and balances which are palatable to the EU, there will be absolutely no privileged treatment of UK in any area as there cannot be. Even if it is granted by the commission a Schrem will come along and blow a petard under it.

      I have said it before, I will say it again. Davis, May and Boris are trying to put the proverbial donkey behind the proverbial cart. The discussion should START with the definition of the final instance for conflict resolution and compliance checking. Once that is figured out the deal and its scope are plain sailing. If it is not figured out there will be no deal to start off with.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It does not matter what GCHQ think

        >Any deal which allows UK member-like privileges without any of the checks which are applied by the ECHR and ECJ to members will be successfully challenged in court and declared invalid.

        Just because I shop at Asda, it doesn't give them the right to tell me what colour shoes I wear or how to bring up my children. Sovereignty has bugger all to do with trade.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It does not matter what GCHQ think..."to leave their cozy little club"

      The fact that you refer to one of the biggest blocs in the world as a "cozy little club" (and note US spelling) suggests a major disconnect from reality. At least when the Confederates tried to secede from the Union they were a lot bigger in relation to that union than is the UK compared to the EU.

      Remind me again how that turned out in the long term? Which are the rich progressive states in the US and which are the poor states, on the whole?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: It does not matter what GCHQ think..."to leave their cozy little club"

        Are you suggesting the EU should invade to try and bring the UK back in line? Well it's a thougth I suppose. And might explain why the Commission have insisted that all external EU military missionions no onger be commanded through Northwood. After all, we might notice they're planning something.

        It's a thought I suppose... I mean we haven't had a war with France in ages, so I'm sure the military would be up for it. Do we fight home or away this time? And should I phone the Palace and get them to put the royal claim to the throne of France back in the job title? It was only about 1805 that we dropped it, nearly twenty years after the French had already decided (rather pointedly) that they didn't want any kings - even their own ones. Then again it was George III who gave it up, and he was mad...

        Have you ever considered getting a sense of perspective?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It does not matter what GCHQ think..."to leave their cozy little club"

          >Are you suggesting the EU should invade to try and bring the UK back in line? Well it's a thougth I suppose. And might explain why the Commission have insisted that all external EU military missionions no onger be commanded through Northwood. After all, we might notice they're planning something.

          In many parts of the world, we'd have had a military coup at some point in the last couple of years.We can but hope.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Coup

            There’s a thought. Dangerous politicians encouraged by offshore interests to ruin our country. Useless/ clueless opposition letting it happen. Is it time for Liz and her generals to temporarily step in and save us from our utterly useless politicians? We should be saved from ourselves for voting for this shower in the first place. I for one will welcome our overlords to come to our rescue.

            1. veti Silver badge

              Re: Coup

              Oh yes... the army and the queen collaborating (!) to overthrow a duly elected government, in order to overturn a referendum decision.

              What a brilliant idea, I can't begin to imagine how that might backfire.

              No, wait a minute - that should have read "I can't begin to imagine how that could do anything other than backfire in the most horrible and explosive way possible".

              If you want to see England (not the UK any longer) led by President Farage, locked in a civil war against Generalissimo Corbyn, then that might be the way to do it. If you'd rather go on living in some semblance of peace, however, it's probably not such a good idea.

              1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

                Re: Coup

                ...If you want to see England (not the UK any longer) led by President Farage, locked in a civil war against Generalissimo Corbyn, then that might be the way to do it....

                Sounds great. I'd vote for that....

                1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
                  Unhappy

                  Sounds great. I'd vote for that....

                  Except no would be voting for it, would they?

                  That's just the sh**storm they'd find themselves in

        2. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

          Re: It does not matter what GCHQ think..."to leave their cozy little club"

          ...Are you suggesting the EU should invade to try and bring the UK back in line? Well it's a thought I suppose....

          Didn't work too well the last two times they tried.

          The way the dynamic works on the Continent is that the Germans hate the French, want to invade them, and can't see why the Brits don't join in on their side.

          Perhaps we ought to. So long as the Germans get Alsace/Lorraine, Paris and the Riviera for their towels, I guess that they would be happy to let us have Normandy, Brittany, Burgundy and the Loire Valley. We'll want Calais back, of course...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            It worked great the last time Netherlands tried it

            They were even able to pull occupying troops out of London after 18 months because English collaborators had convinced themselves it was their idea by then.

          2. Ken 16 Silver badge
            Facepalm

            Re: It does not matter what GCHQ think..."to leave their cozy little club"

            The EU hasn't invaded anyone, it's secured the peace in Europe since it was created. The last time Europeans mounted an invasion of the UK, it was Netherlands and that worked very well.

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